Speaking for the first time on the results of Kerry’s visit to the region last week and his separate meetings with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over four days, Abbas said that he was optimistic because Kerry has made “serious” and “determined” efforts to bring about a solution to the conflict.
The secretary of State, who was making his fifth visit to the region since taking office in February, left behind two of his aides to follow up and promised to return within 10 days.
Abbas said Kerry made “helpful” and “constructive proposals." Nevertheless, the Palestinian leader added, “we still need more clarifications and explanation to return to the negotiations table,” expressing hope that this will be done soon.
Abbas is demanding that Israel stop all new settlement construction in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and accept the border that existed before the 1967 Middle East War as the basis for negotiations before he would agree to sit down face-to-face with Netanyahu.
“We hope the time will come very soon to sit at the negotiations table to discuss all of the fundamental issues,” he said.
Abbas warned, however, that chances of a two-state solution are gradually fading.
“The window for the two-state solution was getting narrower because of Israeli settlement activities and its refusal to release prisoners,” said Abbas, whose statements came during a news conference with the visiting Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.